Magistrate’s absence stalls “Governor” Uche Ogah’s trial for forgery

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The trial of Uche Ogah, the appointed ‘governor’ of Abia State before a Lagos Magistrate’s Court was stalled on Thursday after the trial magistrate in charge failed to turn up in court. No reason was given for the absence of Kikelomo Abeye, the magistrate, but court registrar at Tinubu Magistrate’s Court adjourned the matter till October 26.

Uche Ogar

The police had on June 16, 2016, arraigned Mr. Ogah and a banker, Deji Somoye, a staff of United Bank of Africa, on allegations that the two forged a memorandum of understanding between Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited and Mut-Hass Petroleum Limited.

The crime was alleged to have been committed around March 2011, and it included the forgery of the signature of one Bridget Adeosun. According to police charge sheet seen by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Ogar and Mr. Somoye allegedly forged the MoU and signature with the aim of passing them off as genuine. “That you, Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, Uche Ogah, and others at large sometime in March 2011 at Ikeja, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did conspire among yourselves to wit: forgery.

“That you, Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, Uche Ogah, and others at large, on the same date, time, place and in the aforementioned magisterial district, did forge the signature of one Mrs. Bridget Adeosun and a document known as MoU between Mut-Hass Petroleum Limited and Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, with an intent that it may be in any way used or acted upon as genuine.

“That you, Deji Somoye, United Bank for Africa and others still at large, sometime in August 2011, at UBA regional office, Palmgrove, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did knowing that Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited design to commit an offence, failed to use all reasonable means to prevent the commission or the completion of the crime,” the charge cheat read.

According to police prosecutor, the offence contravened 363 (3)(u), 408 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. Mr. Ogah was on June 30, 2016, issued a certificate of return as the new governor of Abia State, but his assumption of office was frustrated by the absence of the state chief judge, Theresa Uzoukwu.

Okezie Ikpeazu, the incumbent governor, also failed to vacate office, claiming that he had filed an appeal to challenge the decision of the high court that ordered INEC to withdraw his certificate and issue same to Mr. Ogah. Peter Kalu, spokesman to Mr. Ogah, said the charges were not grave enough to prevent his principal from being sworn in at the appropriate time, saying the woman who initiated it would soon recant her claims against Mr. Ogah,

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““That Adeosun of a woman, mark my words, would later come begging,” Mr. Kalu said. “The matter is a civil matter.”

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